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Learning & mobility

Mobile in Belgrade

By Alden Jacobs

VAHA’s Nicosia Hub participant Alden Jacobs from Visual Voices paid a visit to Belgrade between 19-23 December 2021 with the support of VAHA’s Learning & Mobility Grant.* In this story, Alden reflects on his explorations in the city’s cultural scene with a particular focus on the region’s recent history of conflict.

A visit to Belgrade was a long awaited journey and city was magnificently welcoming. Historical and cultural insights from VAHA colleagues made it all the more valuable when getting acquainted with the city.
Serbia is a country that myself and my colleagues at Visual Voices have been wanting to explore for a long time. We are intrigued by the context, similarities, and the possibility for collaboration. The VAHA Learning and Mobility grant has given us the opportunity to start building the foundation for this future. 
The visit started with a tour of the historic center of the city leading up to conversation about the more recent history of conflict. Listening to the stories and seeing the reminders was in many ways shocking to think how recently the events took place.

One of the key reasons for the trip was also to get some insights into the cultural scene for activities taking place in the Phase II of the VAHA program. I was fortunate to be introduced to local artists, galleries, collectives and organizations. It was exciting to see the spaces in which they operate, the support they are given, and the support they give to each other. It may be something about the size and history of the city, but I was so impressed with the seemingly camouflaged and newly reimagined spaces. It made me excited that something similar could one day find its way to Cyprus.
Having had the chance to make some new friends in Serbia is not only valuable for the VAHA collaboration but also for our larger organizational interests. We look forward to finding new opportunities for collaboration between the two countries.
As part of the VAHA Phase II collaboration we will be back in Belgrade to document some of the creative actions taking place. Another discussion for continued learning and networking is to arrange a trip to Kosovo. Considering our local context, we hope that this experience will be an insight into better understanding the similarities and differences.

Text and photos by Alden Jacobs

*The Learning & Mobility Grant aims to foster knowledge and practice exchange among VAHA participants.